Thousands of comments made on council’s proposed library cuts

June 01 2016

MORE than 3,000 comments on planned library cuts, which could see Chipping Sodbury’s service axed, were made during a first round of consultation.

MORE than 3,000 comments on planned library cuts, which could see Chipping Sodbury’s service axed, were made during a first round of consultation.
South Gloucestershire Council is looking to save £650,000 from its library budget but users are fighting to protect those libraries which could be hit.
Chipping Sodbury’s library is under threat and a campaign is running to keep it open and prevent users having to go to Yate instead. The mobile library is also at risk of being taken off the road.
Ahead of future debates on the service, a consultation exercise was carried out on potential changes.
The council said it resulted in more than 3,000 feedback forms being returned, with drop-in sessions for the public also held and meetings conducted with town and parish councils and other interested groups.
It said the volume of feedback would take time to analyse but the findings would be presented to councillors before they made a decision on the next stage of the review in September.
The council had indicated it was interested in possible community involvement in running libraries and said it would now explore new ideas put forward during the consultation.
Councillor Heather Goddard, chairwoman of the communities committee, said: although money had to be saved, the main objective was to provide “the best possible service that is sustainable for the future”.
She said: “The consultation process illustrated the depth of feeling and the range of individuals who use our libraries, as well as revealing a number of new ideas and innovative models of providing services in the future.
“Council officers will now take time to talk to the various groups, including the town and parish councils and community organisations who expressed an interest in working together, to explore new options for each of our libraries.”
Further consultation will be carried out later on updated plans for each library.
Councillors will also be briefed in September on potential community hubs to incorporate multiple services, which could include libraries. Yate is one of the areas prioritised for such a system.